Hands-On With The Cartier Tank LC Sapphire Skeleton Replica Watch

Cartier has a history of making transparent clocks, creating both Mystery clocks and skeletonized clocks as early as pre World War II. However, Cartier Tank LC Sapphire Skeleton Replica Watch  is a new execution for the Tank and one that really shows off the level of watchmaking 21st-century Cartier is capable of while paying tribute to its past. In recent years, a lot of attention has been paid to Cartier’s unusual high-complications, but this just shows that the manufacture is developing in a well-rounded way that indicates good things are ahead.

There are different ways to create a transparent watch. There’s the brash, $2 million, milled sapphire way to do things, and then there’s this. Unveiled earlier this year at SIHH, the cartier tank replica watches takes one of the most iconic silhouettes in all of watchmaking and completely carves out the interior, showing off a skeletonized in-house movement between two sapphire plates. The results are astounding and from the moment we first saw this watch, we knew it deserved a closer look.

Even people who know absolutely nothing about watches know the Cartier Tank. It’s been worn by countless celebrities and high-profile people and it is, arguably, one of the great design objects of the 20th century. Since the original in 1917, Cartier has regularly released new takes on the Tank, adding new case shapes, new dials, and even in-house movements. Here we have a cartier replica watches  that starts with the most classic case shape, the Louis Cartier or LC, but then goes in an entirely new direction.

We’ll start with the basics. The white gold LC case is 39.2mm x 30mm and only 7.45mm thick, meaning it sits extremely well on the wrist. It’s a classic medium size, and perfect in our opinion for a dress watch like this. Both the front and back are sapphire and there is an additional partially-sapphire plate in the center that holds the movement. Finishing things off is the classic Tank crown set with a blue cabochon sapphire.


Now for that movement – the in-house caliber 9616 MC. As you can see, the transparent mounting plate (which is patent-pending at this time) gives the movement the appearance of floating in the center of the case. A large circular bridge holds everything in place, and the other, smaller circular components are suspended from there. There is an almost planetary feel to the architecture, with the barrels, wheels, and balance orbiting the central hands. The skeletonizing is extremely detailed, with beveled internal and external edges on almost every component.


The blued steel, sword-shaped hands are classic Tank, and off-center at about 8 o’clock sits a running seconds register. There is so much going on with this Tank though that the runnings seconds almost gets lost in the mix and easily could have been left off. Just under that you can see the escapement beating away. This is one of those watches that you’ll catch yourself just staring at for inappropriately long periods of time.

Don’t forget that the movement is visible from both sides of the watch. Turning over the case, you get another view of the 9616 MC. Up top are the open barrels and you can clearly see the winding gears leading from the crown up to the closest barrel. This watch is, of course, manually wound and you get about 3 days of power from the two barrels. There is a total of 159 components in this movement, 21 of which are jewels, and the hand finishing on each part is very noticeable.


The Cartier Tank LC Sapphire Skeleton is priced at $53,500 and is available exclusively in white gold. Visit Cartier for more information.